When the calendar turns to October and candy corn somehow starts to sound appetizing, it’s inevitably time for horror.
Every year, networks fight for horror-starved viewers too old to trick or treat. This year, Amazon is getting in on the action with Lore, an anthology series based on the award-winning podcast of the same name from creator and host Aaron Mahnke.
Amazon’s fully embracing the scary, launching all six episodes of Lore on Friday the 13th.
To promote the show, Amazon has partnered with Just Fix It Productions’ “Creep LA,” purveyors of an annual immersive horror experience, to create a unique experience tailored to Lore.
“We’re always looking for different experiential opportunities to bring our programming directly to customers, and this is something that we stumbled upon,” said Mike Benson, head of marketing at Amazon Prime Video. “It’s an interesting opportunity. It wasn’t typical. We called them and had a discussion about how we could create an experience that was cool for them, and great for us as well.”
Over the past six months, Amazon and Creep LA have done exactly that, creating a house of horrors in downtown Los Angeles.
“It’s not just a quick walk-through. It’s an immersive experience that integrates folklore that comes to life in Aaron Mahnke’s podcast and our show into this one-hour experience that’s much deeper than a typical haunted house,” said Benson.
“Creep LA: Lore” features real props and other elements from the show, weaving together many stories found in the series, including werewolves, mental institutions, séances and possessed dolls. As someone who’s survived the event: it is a thrilling and eerie doozy, forging a more intense relationship with a show than just a photo booth (though they have one of those too).
The unnerving event is the centerpiece of Amazon’s Lore marketing campaign, banking on word-of-mouth through social media and public relations.
“We believe that marketing an event like this and making sure people experience it will have a profound word-of-mouth effect and get people to want to sample the show,” said Benson.
In addition, the network has also partnered with Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group’s “House of Torment” haunted houses across the country. Those coming for a scare will glimpse a Lore trailer in line, while six markets (Austin, Denver, Chicago, Phoenix, Nashville and Columbus) will host special screenings of Lore for House of Torment fanclub members. One location will feature a surprise appearance by Lore podcast creator and host Aaron Mahnke on the Friday the 13th launch date.
The network clearly hopes the Halloween fever will rub off on would-be viewers, but whether or not Amazon makes Creep LA, or an equivalent, a seasonal tradition, remains to be seen.
“It depends on the show. What we’re doing is in good step with the creepy nature of Lore. What works about Creep and these haunted mansions partnerships that we have, is its organic nature,” said Benson. “We don’t want it to feel forced; in order to give the customer something of better value, we think it should feel organic to the program. That’s why this feels so right for Lore.”
It’s also another opportunity for Amazon to break out of its current perception in the greater marketplace.
“Most people think of Amazon as this big online retailer. The more we can create sampling opportunities off the platform the better, so people can experience the show in an unexpected way,” said Benson. “We are continually looking for ways to reach Prime customers, non-Amazon customers, or people that are not members of Prime, in ways that will surprise them and bring our shows to them.”
The surprises come hot and heavy in “Creep LA: Lore,” which runs from October 12 through November 12. You can purchase tickets here. All six episodes of Lore debut on Amazon Prime this Friday, Oct. 13.
[All images credited to Hatbox Photography, courtesy of Creep LA and Amazon]